Born Henry Jones Jr. to Scottish-born medievalist Henry Jones Sr. and his wife Anna on July 1, 1899, in Princeton, New Jersey, he accompanied his father on his travels throughout Europe, where he learnt to speak, read, and write 27 languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Vietnamese, Swahili and Chinese, apart from English. Henry Jr. adopted the name of his beloved dog Indiana for himself, insisting he be referred to as Indiana Jones.
Jones joined the Belgian army in 1916 in order to participate in the First World War. He was taken prisoner by the Germans, escaped, encountered Mata Hari, worked as an intelligence officer, took ill, and was treated by Albert Schweitzer, vied with Ernest Hemingway for the affections of a young nurse, and as a translator working on the Treaty of Versailles saw the war come to its conclusion but lay down the groundwork for a second conflict.
Sometime after the war, Jones returned to the United States, where he studied archaeology in Chicago under Professor Abner Ravenwood. At the same time, he became romantically involved with the Professor's daughter Marion. Jones abruptly left the Ravenwoods in 1926 and did not contact them for 10 years. He divided his time between teaching and archaeological expeditions, including a journey to China and India where he faced the gangster Lao Che and the followers of the cult of Kali. He was eventually contacted by the United States government to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. He continued to take on infrequent missions for the government over the ensuing years. In 1938, Indy rescued his father from the Nazis and became embroiled in the search for the Holy Grail.
When last seen in 1993, Jones was living in New York City with his daughter and her family. Sporting an eyepatch and cane, he was stopping anyone within earshot to regale them with tales of his exploits.
The film series includes:
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) where a 13-year-old Indy was played by River Phoenix
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
There is also a series of original paperback novels about the adventures of Indiana Jones other than those in the films, and another series of novels about Young Indiana Jones for younger readers. In addition, there was a comic book published by Marvel Comics in the early 1980s featuring the talents of John Byrne among others.
Various video and computer games have also been produced. The games include:
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (adventure game)
- Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (also a comic book of the same name)
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
- Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb